It’s Friday night. I can hear the frogs and the crickets, and the light brush of the wind against the lush of leaves. My neighbors are outside, making talk, animated and possibly tipped with beer. The frogs sound like my neighbors, each impassionately answering the other. It makes me smile.
I’d forgotten how much I enjoy my neighborhood at night. The shift of evening. The quiet. The calm. Whatever this week has been, it’s over and we’re all ready kick it to the curb. Bless it.
I’m out on the porch because the ache in my chest still sits, arms crossed, refusing to budge. I can’t move it, but I’m hoping at least to catch it off guard. Joy is an excellent piece of armor, I’m learning, and sitting in the dark brings me so much joy.
What’s bothering me is the stuff. The little things that I’ve been collecting because I know that I’m going to do “something” with it, “someday”. It hits me that I could be clinging to these projects to give myself a future and a hope. You know the verse, right? The scripture that many Christians use as a blanket statement over any poor soul that is honest for a moment about feeling lost in any area. I kind of hate it. It’s going to have to be one of the verses that Jesus will have to redeem. For many years, my life felt more like an abandonment and a DIY project left up to me with Jesus occasionally popping his head into the room. My version would read more like, “For I know what I’m doing but I know you’ll figure it out. This isn’t something that is really going to be plain for you. But, you’re a smart girl, go for it. I’ll let you know when you’ve really screwed it up.” So, yeah, I’m going to need healing there…
But, back to the stuff, and me holding onto things because I’m not sure what would happen if I let go of it. These things say things about me. These things represent a relationship. These things describe a portion of my personality that I’m not quite willing to let go of yet. I identify with my things. I like my things.
My things are holding me down.
Take my bookshelf, as an example. I stare at my it every night, with a sigh. It’s filled with fascinating books, cards from loved ones, journals dating back to my childhood, magazines, children’s books, love notes, photos, my how-to section. It’s all wonderful. And, it’s all over the place. My bookshelf is literally being supported by the door frame it’s set beside. It can’t stand on it’s own. The good stuff is too much to carry.
My heart can’t hold it all. Good or hard.
Soaking in the bathtub earlier, I was meditating about things, and weight, and all the stuff I cannot hold and the verse about the Rich Man came to mind. It occurred to me that if he had sold all of his things, he wouldn’t have been poor. That is the initial assumption of course (or at least what I’ve been brought up to believe). He would have been rich and he would have been free to distribute the gains according to what Jesus had in mind. In this case, it was the poor that would benefit. What Jesus left out was the details afterward. ” Then come, follow me.” The invitation that comes to us all of us. Weird. Even writing this out, I am a bit shocked by the sequence. It wasn’t 1) Follow me 2) Sell all you have and (3 Give to the poor. Sell all you have came first.
Could it be that sometimes, we have to take action first before we can follow? That we have to be freed up in a specific way to do what Jesus asks of us afterwards?
Another verse comes to mind:
Action first, then running.
I’m sensing a theme here.
My neighbors have returned inside. The night continues to grow more lovely and alive. Tonight, the ache in my chest may not subside, but I have a feeling now that it won’t last forever.
And, find what Jesus has on the other side.
Photo Credit: Tim Gouw from Pexels